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Home Sweet Home-Playhouse Project

May 01, 2012 by

Alabama CASA is please to announce that Lathan Associates Architects P.C has agreed to be a bulider for our 2012 Home Sweet Home Project

Shawn Calma AIA. VP of Lathan Assocaties P.C "We look forward to working on this project for such a worthy cause."

A playhouse is a metaphor for a safe and happy home.  CASA Volunteer Advocates are giving their time and energy to investigate matters that provide information in order to physically place children in safe and loving permanent homes.  Perhaps you could even consider a CASA Volunteer Advocate somewhat of a “homebuilder.” The Home Sweet Home Project is a classic way to model and demonstrate the work of CASA’s Volunteer Advocates.  

Many in this community want to help suffering children – but may not know how.  CASA believes that bringing community members together as a Home Sweet Home Project  Building Team, is a novel way to show the children in Alabama that we do care about their lives and want to help provide them a safe and happy home.

To learn more about how you can particpate click here

 

 

 

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The Dollars and Sense of CASA Volunteers

March 30, 2012 by

 

The Dollars and Sense of CASA Volunteers

Michael Piraino, CEO of National CASA

CASA volunteers save hundreds of millions of dollars in child welfare costs alone. The annual survey of CASA programs shows that children with CASA volunteers spend 7.5 months less in foster care than children in the general foster care population. It costs the federal government $3,250 per month to keep a child in the foster care system. Every child with a CASA volunteer saves the taxpayer approximately $24,375 per year.

For the 240,000 children served by CASA volunteers in 2010, this represents a savings of $5.850 billion in unnecessary foster care costs.

Put another way, federal funding for CASA for Children reaps a 30 to 1 return on investment. A single grant-funded CASA program staff person supports 30 trained volunteer workers serving as many as 75 children within a year. In 2010, an estimated 75,000 volunteers provided 5.8 million advocacy hours for 240,000 children. If those volunteers had been compensated, their service represents the equivalent of $300 million in taxpayer dollars – but CASA volunteers provide their services for free.

In all this talk of money, let’s not lose sight of the children we serve. So let’s talk about what those dollars mean in the life of a child – a child who has been neglected or abused.

Every day a child spends “in the system” is a day they can never get back. Imagine spending 7.5 additional months without a permanent home. Never knowing whether you’ll have to pack up your belongings and move to another placement. Never knowing whether it’s OK to settle in and get to know your teacher. To make friends. To plan for summer vacation. All those extra months wondering what will happen next.

All children deserve a safe, nurturing permanent home. A child with a CASA volunteer has a much better chance of finding that home—that “forever family”—sooner. Federal investment in CASA for Children is tiny. The impact of that investment is huge.

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February 29, 2012 by

 

It sure is hard to sort out what is happening in the economy this year. It’s up and then it’s down—maybe it’s moving sideways on some days—and the political discussion is not helping much. All I know is that too many people are out of work, and that is bad news for families and children. If you think the economic situation for adults is worrisome, consider these three facts:

1.     More than one in five American children now lives in poverty. (Source: US Census)

2.     Poverty is the single most significant predictor of child maltreatment. (Source: CLASP)

3.     According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, poverty accounts for more than 40% of the variations in reading and math scores among American children. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics )

Sounds pretty ominous. So what can any of us do about it? Not being an economist, I looked elsewhere for answers.

One: connect with vulnerable kids.

The research is clear that the involvement of caring adults has a huge impact on children’s lives, especially those who face multiple challenges. There are many ways to get involved:

§  Become a mentor through organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the National Mentoring Partnership or the National CARES Mentoring Movement.

§  Be a virtual volunteer, such as an online tutor for a youth. Some examples: Tutor/Mentor Connection and Electronic Emissary.

§  Apply your skills as a volunteer advocate for an abused or neglected child. Visit CASAforChildren.org for more details.

§  Open your home as a foster or adoptive parent (find resources at the National Council on Adoption or the North American Council on Adoptable Children.) Check out the photo listings at such sites as AdoptUSKids.org, or find other resources for your state at the National Foster Care & Adoption Directory.

It really doesn’t matter which avenue you choose. Children and young people need a trustworthy relationship with a caring adult as much as they need practical help and guidance.

Two: do not be silent.

If there was any lesson in 2011 directly related to the well-being of abused and neglected children, it was that responsible adults must not stand by when children are abused or neglected. Reporting such behavior is a moral and ethical responsibility even if not mandated by law. States vary on who must report maltreatment, but all states permit anyone to file a report. Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway for information about laws in your state. To report suspected abuse or neglect, call 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) or your state hotline.

Every child has a fundamental right to be treated with respect. Any child subjected to violence has a right to look to responsible adults for care and protection.

Three: recognize and celebrate each child’s uniqueness

Researchers have found that the adults most likely to have a profound positive impact on young are people who:

§  See and celebrate the child’s potential

§  Make the young person their priority

§  Convey a sense of purpose

§  Show genuine interest and concern

§  Are motivated to give back to their communities

(Source: McLaughlin, Milbrey, Merita Irby and Juliet Langman. 1994. Urban Sanctuaries: Neighborhood Organizations in the Lives and Futures of Inner-city Youth. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.)

Four: learn what kids need

If you are volunteering or working with older youth, learn about some of the strength-based research that can help you promote the young person’s development. The Fostering Futures project has information on an evidence-based “possible selves” approach that can have significant impacts on the young person’s educational progress and mental health status. More information about the needs of young people is available on the website of the Search Institute.

These individual actions are never going to show up in an economic report or in the numbers of the stock market, but individuals investing their time and energy in these ways can dramatically change the life prospects for a child in need. And every child whose life is changed can become an adult with a chance at a successful future.

 

 

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Alabama Gives Day Febraury 2, 2012

January 31, 2012 by

 

I woke up really excited this morning.  While I’m always passionate about the work I do here at Alabama CASA Network there's something else that's got me pumped.  Alabama Gives Day is coming!  On February 2nd, 2012, thousands of area residents are going to show their support for their favorite nonprofit. On that day, every donation will help us further the important work of our organization.

 

Alabama CASA Network's mission to ensure that every abused and neglected child has a CASA volunteer to speak up for them in court. The CASA volunteer is there to represent their best interest and ensure they don't get lost in the overwhlemed child welfare system. Watch this video to learn how CASA volunteers have made the difference to in their lives.

 

What really has me excited is that this is going to be a big event, and everyone will be talking about who they’re supporting.  Think “American Idol” and we're in the try-outs but need your support to make it to the top.

 

We need you to help us with these three things:

1) Mark February 2nd, 2012 on your calendar and add this giving link. http://algives.razoo.com/story/Alabamacasa

2) Follow us on Facebook and Twitter ALabama CASA Network , #Alabama CASA and help build the buzz.

3) Spread the word! Forward this email to your family and friends along with a personal note as to why you believe in our work, and why they should give on February 2nd, 2012.

 

Please be our champion, and help us see it to the top! We can’t wait to celebrate the difference your generosity will make on February 2nd, 2012.

 

 

 

 

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